Fug File: Allure
You know how there are some movie posters where you look at them, and you can’t tell if it’s a photo or an artist’s rendering of a photo? That’s how this is to me.
When you are on the cover of Allure — the beauty mag of all beauty mags — you should glow. But the background color being so neutral, plus blah lighting, makes her skin tone look dirty and dingy and jaundiced. Not to mention that the angle is beyond unflattering to her features. Also, you know how Janice Dickinson used to complain on ANTM when models put their arms up and rested them on their heads, because she said nobody likes to see armpit? I feel that way about the neck-swivel crinkles. It’s not that she should be ashamed of having them, because that’s what bodies do. But there are ways to pose to avoid them, or ways to hide them, so that they don’t become the focus of the photo. As it is, I’m staring at them instead of at her, which can’t have been the goal. And when my eyes drift from them, they go down to the leather strap, and I keep wondering if she’s naked and carrying a satchel or just wearing very fancy overalls.
So, in sum, the whole thing is — wait for it — the opposite of alluring. Safe to say that’s off-brand, no?
Well, I don’t know about you, but if they hadn’t written “JENNIFER GARNER” right next to this person’s face, I would not have known who she is:
“Who IS this tan, angular lady?” I would have asked. “She looks friendly! Is it Christa B Allen? Must be! Well, she’s all grown up and on Allure. GOOD FOR HER!”
I have a lot of thoughts about this cover. They might get screechy. May I number them? Okay then:
1) No begrudging Blake’s genetic blessings, but come on: Everyone in the world is sick of reading about celebrities who insist all the skinny and the beauty and the perfection come so easily to them.
2) You are even ADMITTING as much with that parenthetical underneath the cover line, as if to say, “Isn’t that SUPER ANNOYING? But really, she’s nice,” in the same way somebody trying to set up a friend on a blind date might say, “Jimmy chews with his mouth open sometimes, but really, he’s super sweet and a great friend.”
3) It’s really uninspiring to your readers — who, because they are gobbling up your recommended products that make their hair and skin better, presumably DO have to try — to read about people who apparently DON’T EVER have to try. It doesn’t even matter what the story itself actually says; you’re already undercutting it with that choice of cover line.
4) This one might be among the most important: There is NO WAY that is the most interesting thing about Blake Lively, who is from a quasi-showbiz family (her sister is Teen Witch!) and went from Traveling Pants to Chanel in a hella fast period of time and has launched a movie career for herself in which she’s largely well-reviewed. So it seems strange to hope people will buy your magazine by reducing her to the single most annoying celebrity stereotype short of, “I stay fit just by running around after my kids.” A story that listed only the hair products she uses would be more apt to get me to pick up this issue.
5) I think the sans serif font you’re using for some of those cover lines makes Allure look kind of cheap, and also, super wordy — if you’re stamping stuff all over Blake’s MILLIONAIRE HAIR, then at least make the text look nice (I don’t know why I hate it so much but I clearly do).
6) Although Blake herself looks nice and natural, you managed to pick a photo in which her eyes seem a little glazed, in a frightened or shocked way. Imagine if you were at lunch with her, and you announced, “I’m shaving my head, becoming a Scientologist, eating only food that has been cooked by the flame of a burning pile of tires, tattooing John Mayer’s face on my chest so that my nipples are his eyes, and then going back to school to become a professional gun cleaner, AND I’VE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER.” You would see this expression on Blake’s face as she listened and nodded and tried to remain impassive while swallowing rising panic as she privately wondered, “Are we good enough friends for me to tell her that this plan is INSANE, or do I just have to nod and support her and then get the hell out of here and text somebody about this?”
7) Unfortunately, people who are not a weird as I am might interpret that look as, “What? You actually DO have to watch what you eat and work out and stuff? Dear God, are you a PEASANT or something?” and that does neither her nor you any favors.
8 ) Her makeup and eyebrows look great. What? I decided to end on a positive.
I wonder if one of Diane’s “Fashion Pet Peeves” is when Allure makes her look like a fem-bot on their cover. Albeit a fem-bot with great bone structure.
I’m beginning to think that Jessica Simpson is actually physically incapable of closing her mouth. Does she have some terrible affliction which People magazine has not yet uncovered, such as a freakishly enlarged tongue, or a secretly enormous uvula, requiring a constant supply of fresh oxygen? It’s the only explanation I can think of.
While I DO want to love my hair — I seriously considered buying the $140 shampoo discussed in this month’s Lucky until I realized that might be a little bit crazy considering that I am not actually J. Lo – and as much as I fully plan to read about women who sleep with their stylists, never having had a stylist who was intrigued even vaguely by my gender, I seriously have to wonder what happened to the story that Allure‘s cover photo is clearly advertising. I believe it was originally called, “Conjuncti-VITAL! You CAN Pull Off The Pink Eyeshadow Trend!” Could they have possibly realized that was a bald-faced lie? And if so, does that mean the rest of the cover lines are pure honest truth and I can therefore eat like seven of those no-guilt desserts? Sign me up!